The Phoenix Coyotes needed this game. One night after blowing two leads and falling in overtime to the New York Rangers, the Coyotes held on to their late lead and defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Not only did the Coyotes need this game, they needed to win it the way they did. Phoenix's problem with closing out games is well documented, so its ability to maintain a one-goal lead and escape with victory, especially playing the second game of a back-to-back, is very encouraging for a team fighting for a playoff spot. In fact, the Coyotes were able to hold on to that one-goal lead for the final 26:42 of the game in large part due to their back-up goaltender. With starting goaltender Mike Smith injured, Thomas Greiss was handed the reins to the team with the simple task of defeating the second best team in the Eastern Conference and the best player in the world. Greiss was up to the challenge, stopping 23-of-25 shots for his eighth win of the season. Many did not think this game would ultimately turn into a goaltenders duel, especially early on. The opening period was a high-scoring offensive affair that saw each team pot a pair of goals.
Coyotes defeat Penguins, extend wild card lead
Five For Howling | Mar 26